Mountain Biking in the Ocean State

Lincoln Woods, A World Apart Minutes Away

Lincoln Woods is a 627 acre state park, the closest to RI's capital, 5 miles North of Providence off RI-146. It is a refuge for anglers, climbers, equestrians, geocachers, hikers, kayakers and mountain bikers. There are 92 picnic areas available by permit, ball fields, horse stables, and public beach. Opens daily at sunrise all year, closes at sunset (yep, no night riding). As always, please use common sense during mud season. Trails drain well, but there's a short spell every Spring when they should be left alone. If in doubt, please ride the paved road, or scout trails out first. Respect park policies and signage. Plan early morning rides on weekdays during busy Summer months.

While 627 acres may not inspire visions of an epic ride, park terrain challenges all ability levels. Freeriders and local XC racers go there to get in shape and work on their bike handling abilities. Trails range from double track, fire roads, and old paved roads to singletrack. The common theme shared by most trails at Lincoln Woods are lung busting climbs and technical descents. Though not mountainous, some are difficult and steep. Flatter trails can be found along western edge of the park. Whether you enjoy hard climbs, natural drops, rock face riding, and steep rollers, or just want to get started off road, check out Lincoln Woods.

Directions by Car from Providence: RI-146 to the Twin River Rd exit. Head East of 146 and drive straight into park.

Directions by Bike from Providence: Ride North on Smithfield Avenue (RI-126) about 4 miles from Branch Avenue. Take a left onto Great Road (RI-123). East entrance of park is 0.2 mile on the left at Manchester Print Works Road. Take care crossing! Alternatively, take Old Louisquisset Pike (RI-246) to right on Twin River Road, straight to West entrance to park, where rides are staged from Parking Lot #1. 

For further information and maps, click link above or contact Brendan Dee, RI NEMBA.

Big River, Bigger Fun

Big River is located mainly in West Greenwich South of I-95 along exits 6, 6a & 7 (across highway from Amgen). Its 8,600 acres was acquired between 1965 and 1967 by the Water Resources Board to build a reservoir, but development stalled. They're planning to sink a well field in its northern end to augment the local water system. Its southern side and adjacent Carr Pond area hold a labyrinth of trails mostly dug by dirt bikes over decades and interwoven with old farming and logging roads.

Every Earth Day weekend in April over the past several years environmentally minded groups and NEMBA members get together to clear more rubbish out of Big River. In 2008, over one hundred volunteers filled 8 dumpsters with historic trash from old homesteads and tire dumps deep in the woods, and hauled out abandoned cars.

While riding in Big River is still limited by use rules only to fire roads, it is more of a don't-ask-don't-tell approach until rules are reconsidered for responsible users. Until then, NEMBA takes a proactive approach by assisting in projects like the annual cleanup, helping out where it can, and working closely with the WRB. Hopefully, someday soon, Big River will become a choice destination among the mountain biking community.

Directions by Car from Providence: I-95 South to Exits 6, 6a or 7. Head South toward Division Street, which bounds Big River on the North. Park at trailheads indicated by signs.

For further information and maps, click link above or directly contact Peter Gengler, RI NEMBA. 

Arcadia, Acres of Trails to Access

Arcadia Management Area, an undeveloped state park straddling the border of Exeter and West Greenwich, offers the state's largest mountain biking access. It has over 14,000 acres of rolling forest with untold miles of mountain bike trails. One wrong turn, and you’re off on a 3 hour ramble on old, unmarked dirt bike trails. While no place for a novice to explore alone, Arcadia is an awesome place to ride. Breakheart Pond has a medium loop suitable for novices and Breakheart Trail has been a mecca of local riders for years.

There is public hunting in Arcadia; 200 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange must be worn by riders during hunting season, September 1st through May 31st. Another way to alert hunters is to tie a sleighbell on your seat rails; it’s festive once you get used to the constant noise. The usual precautions against deer ticks and mosquitoes are also strongly recommended.

Because of its enormity and possibility of getting seriously lost, we advocate using maps. While no substitute for personal knowledge of the trails, they will help you to identify landmarks better. However, their accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed, so use at your own risk.

Directions by Car from Providence: I-95 South to Exit 5b. Head South on RI-102 to right on RI-3. At the flashing yellow light take a right onto RI-165 West. After passing under the highway, watch for the brown sign on the left pointing to Browing Mill Pond, the staging point for rides in Arcadia South of RI-165. To ride Arcadia North of RI-165, continue past the white church; the next right will bring you to a dirt parking lot.

For further information and maps, click link above or directly contact Jim Grimley, RI NEMBA.

Burlingame, Intersects North-South Trail

Burlingame Management Area consists of 3,100 acres of forested, hilly, rocky terrain bordering Watchaug Pond. Activities include boating, camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and swimming in water carefully monitored for cleanliness. The area North of Buckeye Brook Road, which abuts the Pawcatuck River, is primarily a hunting area. Animals at Burlingame include eastern chipmunk, eastern cottontail, gray squirrel, muskrat, mink, raccoon, red fox, river otter, short-tailed shrew, short tailed weasel, white-tailed deer, and white-footed mouse. About 80 species of birds nest there, and many more species can also be seen migrating through, for example, wintering bald eagles.

With free year-round parking, trails are only a short ride from the Picnic Area. There are about 17 miles of singletrack, some of which include the North-South Trail, which stretches all the way to the Massachusetts border on mountain bike inviting dirt, gravel, hardpack and washboard. There is also a 5 mile loop of mostly doubletrack hills directly accessible on the northern side. The fast rolling 8-mile Yellow Dot Trail (Vin Gormley Trail) - with a few rock fields, good amount of roots showing, and short technical climbs - winds around Watchaug Pond, accessed by riding either North or West out of the parking lot for about a mile up the road. 

Directions by car from Providence: I-95 South to RI-4 South to US-1. Right onto Prosser Trail Road in Charlestown, RI. 

For further information and maps, click link above or directly contact Len Schroeder, RI NEMBA. 

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